I can’t quite believe that I’m writing about your 6-monthly business review already – it doesn’t seem like that long ago, we were talking about Christmas and New Year! And yet here we are in July and thinking about how that first 6 months has panned out. Did you achieve your goals? Are things going as well as you hoped it would?
Contrary to some peoples’ beliefs, the 6-month review isn’t about beating yourself up for not achieving what you hoped you would, it’s more about standing back, looking at what went well, and looking for opportunities to take your business forward to success in the next 6 months.
In December, I published a post ‘How to conduct your small business annual review,’ and this post follows on from that, talking more about analysing how you’re doing.
Let’s look at the money!
OK, first things first, let’s get this bit done first. 2022 has not been a good financial year for anyone – inflation is through the roof, there is a war in the Ukraine, which has influenced fuel prices, and food prices are at an all-time high. Add to that, Covid is still raging away in the background. The world is in turmoil and most families are having to tighten their belts to survive. Small businesses have struggled, and still are, struggling to sell as much as they hoped.
Oh dear, this does paint a rather gloomy picture doesn’t it? I’m sounding a bit like Eeyore from the Winnie the Pooh stories! I do apologise, but the point I am making is that if your business hasn’t done as well as you had hoped back in December/January, there are reasons for this.
The first thing to do is to look at your predicted sales at the beginning of the year and compare with your actual sales. If you have hit your goal, brilliant, that’s great news. Have a look at why you made the sales when you did:
- What did you do to get those sales?
- Did you have any special offers running?
- Look at where each sale came from – how did they find your business? What made them buy your product? Did they give you a review? If yes, look at your reviews to see if anything needs to change, or if their review suggests a new product.
If you didn’t hit your goals, don’t panic! As I said earlier, it’s been a tough year for all businesses this year, small or large. Have a look at what you’ve done and try to find out why it didn’t work. What can you do more of, or do better, to raise your sales figures for the end of the year?
Analysing your small business marketing
The next thing to look at is your marketing. I know, I can hear you groaning from here! I adore marketing and love getting down to the nitty gritty, but it’s my job and my passion and I realise that not all small businesses share my enthusiasm!
So, let’s keep it short and simple:
- Look at the goals you set at the beginning of the year. What have you achieved and what still needs more work? Have any of your priorities changed over the past 6 months? Do any of your goals need to change, become more challenging, or do you need to get rid of any that just aren’t now workable?
- Look at your website analytics. You will have highs and lows on your figures. Look at the dates of the highs and see if they correspond with any particular campaign you may have been running at that time. Do the same for the low points. Then you’ll have an idea of what marketing activity gets people to your website. For example, if things were a bit quiet and you decided to do a Tenner Tuesday, for example, what impact did that have on your website stats?
- Now look at your social media pages – look at the insights page. Most only go back over the past 3 months. Look at what posts were popular, and why they were popular. What made people engage with them? If you look at your top six posts and stories, you should see what draws people in. It could be that you published an educational video, or you went ‘live’ or published something amusing or inspiring. It always amazes me – what I think will be popular isn’t usually among my top four posts.
Also, be honest with yourself – if you have more than one social media account, are you using them to the best of your ability and using your marketing tactics for all channels? If you find that one particular channel is not hitting the mark for you, you don’t get much engagement etc, you might want to ‘call time’ on that account. There is no point flogging yourself on a channel that just doesn’t work for you and your business. I tried Twitter and just didn’t like it, and it didn’t work well for me. No matter how much I read about using it properly, it just didn’t resonate with me, so I started to ignore it. In the end, I just binned it – it wasn’t for me – end of!
- What else helped you with your marketing? Are you a member of any networking groups? These hugely help small businesses in my experience. Or maybe you attend networking groups or meetings in person. If you do, think about how the networking helps your business. Did you get more sales through networking?
- Similarly, if you have attended any fayres or markets, were they worth the investment to go? Did they work for you and your business? They don’t work for everyone, so don’t feel despondent if you feel that they are not for you.
The next 6 months
Finally, it’s time to look forward. You now have the benefit of hindsight – I always say that hindsight is a wonderful thing!
From the goals you have, or have reset, how are you going to achieve them? What marketing tactics are you going to use to get to where you want to be by the end of the year?
If your business relies heavily on sales at Christmas, now is the time to start advertising, creating ads and campaigns that will see you through to the New Year. In general, people start planning for Christmas much earlier these days, so they can spread the inevitable cost. Once winter is here, with the cost of fuel, bills, and food set to rise in the Autumn, now is the time to hit the market with your wares, or at least be prepared to get your marketing tactics in place for the end of the summer.
We know that there is a huge lull in business during the early part of the year, so now is the time to plan whatever buzz you want to create to keep your business ticking over.
With all this in mind, planning is your best friend. Get that notebook out or set up a spreadsheet – however you like to do things. Plan your goals for the rest of the year, and how you will achieve them.
And lastly, DON’T FORGET TO CELEBRATE! Celebrate all you have achieved so far – pat yourself on the back, give yourself a round of applause and shout about your successes on your social media pages. Any win, no matter how big or small, is a win. Take the chance to be proud of yourself and your small business. It’s all yours and you are the one who works hard to keep it going.
Good luck to each and every one of you.
If you need any help with your marketing, or with reviewing what you’ve done, or are just feeling generally overwhelmed and don’t know which way to turn, give me a shout. I’m happy to help.